21 Best Things to do in Melbourne
Everyone loves a BEST OF list and 21 Best Things to do in Melbourne by JetSetting Fools (Sarah and Kris) is a beauty.
The JetSetting Fools provide travel stories, information, advice and tips on sights and walking tours, but include off-the-beaten-path adventures, history and culture along the way.
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21 Best Things to do in Melbourne
With a fascinating history, modern and preserved architecture, an abundance of nature and a vibrant nightlife, Melbourne has broad appeal.
The contemporary Central Business District (CBD) is alive with a hip and trendy culture, but low-key beach vibes are just a tram ride away. If you are looking to truly experience the city, check out our list of the 21 best things to do in Melbourne, Australia.
1. Look down from the Eureka Skydeck
The Eureka Skydeck boastfully claims to be the highest viewing platform in the Southern Hemisphere - and, as such, it is pretty easy to find in the Melbourne skyline. Visitors are whisked up 88 floors in just under 40 seconds to an observation room with a 360-degree view of the city below. Definitely Melbourne's most unique perspective!
2. Hop aboard a Yarra River cruise
For another unique city perspective, hop aboard a boat cruise going up river, down river or all the way to Williamstown on Port Phillip Bay. There are day cruises, sunset cruises and dinner cruises, too.
3. Watch a footy game at the MCG
For those unfamiliar with Aussie Rules Football, it's like a mash up of rugby, soccer and American football. The action is fast, the field is enormous and the scores can easily slip into triple digits. The game - also referred to simply as Footy - was born in Melbourne and there is no better place to watch a game than at the historic Melbourne Cricket Ground.
4. Imbibe in the CBD
The nightlife in Melbourne is lively (and sometimes the day drinking is, too!). From classic pubs (Captain Melville, Cricketers Arms) to rooftop bars (Madame Brussels, Rooftop Cinema) to trendy cocktail lounges (The Croft Institute, Berlin Bar) and river bars (Ponyfish Island, The Arbory), pick a place that fits your mood. A tip for beer lovers: Melbourne has a wicked craft brew scene (Little Creatures ranks high on our list!), so ask the bartender what local beers are on tap! (Ponyfish Island pictured above.)
5. Take a day trip to Brighton Beach
Brighton is an affluent beach town with chic cafes and posh stores, but the most popular attraction in town are the Brighton Beach Bathing Boxes. The small, square boxes, which were originally used as ladies' changing rooms, have no water or electricity, yet have fetched sale prices beyond $250,000. The beach boxes are somewhat of a novelty, but they are colorful, so don't forget your camera!
6. Tour the Parliament House
Melbourne's Parliament House is where the state of Victoria's politicians create laws. When Parliament is in session, visitors can view the proceedings from the public galleries. When they aren't in session, free tours are offered that put visitors in the seats of the politicians in the Legislative Assembly Chamber, the Legislative Council Chamber and the central reading room of the library.
7. Go on a Fitzroy pub crawl
Fitzroy is a neighborhood northeast of Melbourne's CBD that has been around since 1839. It has some of the best preserved Victorian-era architecture in the city and a dizzying number of bars. A leisurely walk from the city or a quick ride on the tram puts this area within easy reach for visitors, but after visiting a few bars, a taxi back to the CBD may be in order!
8. Walk from Port Melbourne to St. Kilda
While there are plenty of sights in Melbourne's CBD, it's hard to resist a peek at Port Phillip Bay, which is just a short tram ride away. The beachfront suburbs have small entertainment districts and the distinct vibe of coastal living, providing an idyllic get away from the city. A paved path, Bay Trail, follows the coastline 4.4km from Port Melbourne to St. Kilda Pier.
9. Join a Free Tour
There are many free tours offered in Melbourne, but to get a lay of the land, join the I'm Free Walking Tour Melbourne for a three-hour, guided walk through the CBD. Prefer to DIY? Follow our Self-Guided Walking Tour of Melbourne.
10. Eat in Chinatown
Melbourne's Chinatown occupies Little Bourke in the northeastern portion of the CBD. Ornamental gates, hanging lanterns and a string of Asian cuisine restaurants, shops and businesses line the street. For the All-You-Can-Eat dumpling experience, head to the Dumpling House in Chinatown.
11. Ride the City Circle Tram #35
Whether your feet need a break or you just need to get to the other end of the CBD, catch a free ride on the City Circle Tram #35. The old, wooden tram cars rattle in a loop around the city and include a brief, pre-recorded commentary that provides quick facts and details about many Melbourne sights.
12. Shop/Eat/Be Entertained at Queen Victoria Market
The buzzing halls of the Queen Victoria Market have all the ingredients - meat, fish, produce, prepared food, clothing and gadgets - of a thriving metropolitan market. But, while some markets like these become geared toward tourists, there is no doubt that this is where urban locals do their shopping, too. The QVM has indoor and outdoor booths taking up more than two city blocks. Check the QVM schedule for special events.
13. Stroll the Botanic Gardens
The Royal Botanic Gardens of Melbourne were founded in 1846 and provide a tranquil retreat from the streets and skyscrapers of the city. Take a stroll and breathe in the fresh air!
14. Ramble through the Laneways
Melbourne's Laneways are the minor streets found between the major thoroughfares. Created as side entrances, a means for deliveries and rubbish collection, they now serve as enclaves for trendy bars and cafes, local specialty shops and a collection of urban street art.
15. Learn about the (in)famous Ned Kelly
Ned Kelly is Melbourne's most famous outlaw and his story is a favorite in Melbourne's history. For those interested in learning about the legend, visit the Ned Kelly exhibit at The State Library of Victoria - or better yet, take one of their free tours. (Actually, just go to visit the library, because it's a stunning building, both inside and out!) Other places to get a dose of Ned Kelly tales: The Old Melbourne Gaol and The Treasury Building (which also displays Gold Bars that are pretty cool).
16. Take a train to Williamstown
Once home to the Victorian Navy, the little port town on the bay has quite the historic past. Strolling the waterfront or meandering through the community is a relaxing way to idle away an afternoon.
17. Admire the architecture of the historic churches
Three of Melbourne's CBD churches - St. Paul's Anglican Cathedral, The Scots' Presbyterian Church and St. Patrick's Catholic Cathedral - were constructed in the 1800s. Enjoy the architecture and savor the silence. (St. Patrick's Catholic Cathedral pictured above.)
18. Visit the Docklands
In the 1850s, it was the harbor that accepted migrants arriving in droves during the gold rush, but was then left unused after the 1960s when it was deemed unsuitable for container ships. A plan for revitalization has breathed new life into the area, turning it into a live/work/tourist waterfront playground. As a location for many of the city's events, be sure to check what's on at the Docklands!
19. Tour the Shrine of Remembrance
Built in 1934 to honor the Victorians who served in World War I, the Shrine of Remembrance has evolved and expanded to include an intriguing museum featuring artifacts from all Australian conflicts. Visitors are invited to tour the shrine on their own or join one of the two daily free tours.
20. Walk Sydney Road in Brunswick
Sydney Road has long been the main thoroughfare in Brunswick and it is lined with shops, eateries, government buildings and churches. Gentrification of the area has spurred the remodeling of historic hotels (a.k.a pubs) and the adaptive reuse of many of the buildings along Sydney Road. In addition to the restored hotels, there are vintage shops and an assortment of international cuisine due to the diverse culture in the area.
21. Make a day trip to Seaford
Connected to Melbourne's CBD by an hour-long Metro train, Seaford is a quaint, beach-fronting suburb. Sandy paths weave through the Foreshore Reserve, leading three miles south to Frankston. In the mood for a local farmer's market? Plan your visit for the third Sunday of the month.
MAY 3, 2016 JETSETTING FOOLS
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